About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

More Alzheimer's Patients Can Get Help from Usually Used Dementia Drugs

by Nancy Needhima on March 9, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Font : A-A+

More Alzheimer's Patients Can Get Help from Usually Used Dementia Drugs

Dementia drug donepezil (Aricept), broadly used to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease, can also aid in moderate to severe patients, states report funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Alzheimer's Society. The study suggests that extending treatment to this group could help treat twice as many sufferers worldwide. Encouragingly, the drug has greater positive benefits for patients more severely affected than for those in the earlier stages of dementia.

It is estimated that 18 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer's disease, which is the most common cause of dementia. According to the World Health Organization, of the 35 million people currently living with dementia globally, 58% live in low- and middle-income countries and by 2050 this figure is projected to reach 71% of the total.

Advertisement

The multi-centre UK study, led by Professor Robert Howard at King's College London, is the first trial to demonstrate the value of continued drug intervention for those patients with moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease who have deteriorated beyond the point where donepezil is currently recommended.

The study, to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at two drugs: donepezil and memantine. Donepezil is the most commonly prescribed of the dementia drugs and is recommended for patients at the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease. Doctors are currently advised to stop prescribing donepezil when the disease progresses to become moderate to severe and until now there has been no clear evidence that continuing treatment is of benefit to patients.
Advertisement

Over the course of the trial, patients who continued to take donepezil showed considerably less decline in cognition - memory, orientation, language function - and function (retained ability to carry out simple daily tasks and self-care) than those taking a placebo drug. The benefits seen with continued treatment were clinically important and were greater than those previously seen in patients with less severe Alzheimer's disease. Whilst the effect was slightly smaller, starting memantine treatment also resulted in significantly better cognitive and functional abilities compared with those taking a placebo.

Professor Robert Howard, lead author from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's says: "As patients progress to more severe forms of Alzheimer's disease, clinicians are faced with a difficult decision as to whether to continue or not with dementia drugs and, until now, there has been little evidence to guide that decision. For the first time, we have robust and compelling evidence that treatment with these drugs can continue to help patients at the later, more severe stages of the disease. We observed that patients who continued taking donepezil were better able to remember, understand, communicate and perform daily tasks for at least a year longer than those who stopped taking the drugs. These improvements were noticeable to patients, their caregivers and doctors. Both donepezil and memantine will soon be off patent and available in very cheap generic preparations. These findings will greatly increase the numbers of patients in the developed and developing world that we are able to treat."

Professor Nick Fox, MRC Senior Clinical Fellow at the Institute of Neurology, University College London, says: "The number of people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia is reaching critical levels. It has never been more important to invest in research which will enable doctors to make informed decisions based on the best evidence possible when deciding what treatments to give patients. The MRC has an ongoing commitment to the development of effective, safe treatments that will improve the quality of life for people with Alzheimer's disease and their care givers."

Professor Clive Ballard, Director of Research at Alzheimer's Society, says: "Thanks to the Alzheimer's drug donepezil, tens of thousands of people in the early to moderate stages of the condition are able to recognise their family for longer, play with their grandchildren and make vital plans for the future. This major new trial now shows that there could also be significant benefits on continuing the treatment into the later stages too. There are 750,000 people with dementia in the UK yet currently prescription levels of Alzheimer's drugs are still low. If this is to change we have to improve the shocking diagnosis rates and ensure everyone is given the opportunity to try treatments."
Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Cochlear Implants may Consequently Drive Hearing Loss
E-cigarettes Use Linked to Erectile Dysfunction
Memory Loss - Can it be Recovered?
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Alzheimers Disease Drug Toxicity Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Diet and Alzheimer´s Disease Dementia Vascular Dementia Genetics of Alzheimer´s disease 

Recommended Reading
Alzheimer’s Disease Day: Treating Dementia with Care Rather Than Cure
Alzheimer's disease has no cure and patients need care more than cure, says Ravi Samuel, Cognitive ....
Antidepressants in Dementia - Less Benefit, More Side Effects
Antidepressants may provide little benefit in dementia patients suffering from depression, a study ....
World Alzheimer's Day - "Dementia: It's Time for Action"
September 21st 2010 is celebrated globally as World Alzheimer's Day with the theme "Dementia: .....
Daily Vit B Pill Can Help to Keep Alzheimer's Disease at Bay
A daily dose of vitamin B could greatly slow the onset of dementia and guard against Alzheimer's .....
Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting memory and thinking and mak...
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare form of degenerative brain disorder, or brain damage that ...
Dementia
Dementia has become a very big concern as we have an aging population across the world. Dementia is ...
Diet and Alzheimer´s Disease
Alzheimer''s begins with forgetfulness, but over time affects speech and coordination along with dra...
Drug Toxicity
Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a d...
Genetics of Alzheimer´s disease
There are numerous genes that have been discovered that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and ...
Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia. Though it has no cure, you can still l...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use